Tomato pinworm

Keiferia lycopersicella

Eggs, seldom noticed because of their small size, are usually laid singly on lower surfaces of leaves. Early instars are light colored and appear smooth even when observed with a hand lens; they lack the obvious tubercles and bristles of newly hatched tomato fruitworms or tobacco budworms. Later instars are most often found in fruit; they usually are gray or yellowish with an irregular band of red or purple across each segment. Larvae either pupate in leaf shelters or drop to the ground to pupate. The slender, brown pupa is usually enclosed in a loose silk cocoon with adhering soil or plant debris. Adult moths are small, about ¼ inch (6–8 mm) long, and light gray, peppered with small black flecks.
Damage: This caterpillar feeds on leaves and creates blotch-type mines, but causes most of its damage when it attacks the fruit. Where abundant, the tomato pinworm may seriously damage foliage and infest nearly 100% of the fruit. Larvae normally enter fruit through the calyx, but when populations are high they may enter at any point on the fruit's surface. They make dry burrows and do not penetrate very far into the fruit. When infested fruit is picked, caterpillars may be difficult to detect unless they have been feeding long enough to create small piles of brown, granular frass at the edge of the calyx. Because the pinworm has many generations per season, it becomes more serious as the season advances. The greatest damage occurs where tomatoes are grown from early in the season to late in the fall or in areas where the seasons for early and late tomatoes overlap.

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